A CATHOLIC bishop called for the resignation of Silvio Berlusconi, the first time such a senior figure of the Church has done so, adding to a growing sense the crisis over the beleaguered Italian prime minister's private life is out of control.
Monsignor Domenico Mogavero, Bishop of Mazara del Vallo in Sicily and a former senior official in the Italian Bishops Conference, said Mr Berlusconi should "consider whether it is opportune to resign in the interests of the country".
The prime minister was further criticised by the Church when Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco of Genoa, head of the conference, warned against "men drunk on a delirium of their own greatness, who touch the illusion of omnipotence and distort moral values".
Mr Berlusconi faced mounting pressure to come clean about his private life yesterday after revelations that he entertained about 20 women, including two lesbian escort girls, until dawn during a private party at his house in Rome.
Patrizia D'Addario, the Bari prostitute who claims to have recorded footage that proves her encounters with the prime minister, gave more details of her first meeting with Mr Berlusconi, saying: "It felt like a harem. And there was only one sheikh. Him."
She also spoke of the "strange burglary" in which her underwear, computer and the dress she wore to the party were allegedly stolen from her home days after she told a friend of the secret recordings. It is understood that the video recordings, taken on her mobile phone, show Ms D'Addario in the prime minister's bedroom.
In what appeared to be his first concession since the scandal triggered his wife to petition for divorce, Mr Berlusconi admitted yesterday that he had erred in allowing some guests to his parties, but said that he would not change his ways. (© The Times, London)